Abstract and Keywords
Over the last 225 years, government finances in the United States have gone through three distinct stages. In the first stage, 1790–1850, state governments actively pursued policies to promote economic development and financed them from revenues from state investments. In the second, 1850–1930, local governments became the most important level of government, as measured by revenues and expenditures, and revenues shifted toward the property tax. In the third period, 1930 to the present, the national government became the most active and largest level of government, financed through income and payroll taxes, and developed an extensive network of grants to state and local governments. The chapter tracks the changes in sources of revenues and purpose of expenditures, with specific attention paid to military spending over the entire period.
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